GIVE ME FICTION is a storytelling show at San Francisco’s Lost Weekend video store. Some of the finest minds in comedy and literature are given a loose theme from which to work, and nothing else. The results will be unrestricted by genre or convention. Laughs will be had, among other emotions….
Ivan Hernandez wanders barefoot under the shady boardwalk while SHOELESS and WCSF Cornerman Steven Westdahl reads absent Greg Asdourian’s handwritten notes while SHIRTLESS. The Summer of Grudge is taking it all off to expose our pasty white San Francisco flesh. Enjoy.
The smell of crackling roast pig skin wafted over the dunes, past the crabs fucking excitedly in small pools of water, under the boardwalk responsible for the town’s booming tetanus plague, and into the nostrils of a man holding up a steel bucket into which another man was shitting. The feces hit the bucket with a plop reminiscent of afterbirth tumbling onto the delivery room floor, although without the promise of new life.
“Smells great!” Calluses Calhoun remarked as he swished around the bucket’s contents, “And good consistency too! This’ll make great throwing poop.”
“You don’t get to be King of the Underwalk without knowing how to shit in a bucket,” Six Fingers Mulroney, King of the Underwalk said, “Now, are you ready to freak out some squares?”
Calhoun gripped the bucket handle tightly. This was his first raid on the outside world since joining with the Hobos of the Underwalk, the fabled group of freemen and women who dwelled beneath the Atlantic City boardwalk. The grueling initiation tested his resolve. Fighting a pack of stray dogs to become their alpha, drinking garbage juice from the bottom of a dumpster, building a hovel with working plumbing out of a stray assemblage of refrigerator boxes, all leading to his rechristening. He had thrown off the shackles of the slave name society had given him, Charles Fauntleroy Montgomery, and became Calluses Calhoun, so named for the thick pads of skin crust which served as his shoes. Mulroney led him to a dune overlooking the partying revelers, the high society lords and ladies, these kings of casinos, these old jerks of New Jersey.
“When I give the signal, you execute plan B19,” Mulroney ordered.
“What’s the signal?”
Mulroney jumped to the top of the dune and pulled out his penis, then quickly began masturbating.
“My father was a bread boy and I’m a bread boy too,” he screamed, “There ain’t no hate in a sandwich!”
Calhoun assumed this was the signal and scrambled up to his mentor. A small amount of bucket poop got in his mouth, but all glory has a price. He tossed the pail, spraying an arc of shit across the celebrating socialites. Mulroney dashed forward and heaved the roasting pig over his shoulder, moving with surprising agility for a man with so few toes. Calhoun surveyed the still reeling beachgoers, until his eyes met a girl’s. More accurately, his eyes met the layer of human feces over the girl’s eyes, but when she wiped it away, their connection only strengthened.
“Run, boy!” Mulroney yelled, “They’ll have their flails and maces and spiked chains out soon enough!” Ever since the local history museum had sold their overstock to the townspeople, life for a hobo had grown significantly medieval.
Calhoun sped away, but even when returned to the safety of the Underwalk and his refrigerator box, he couldn’t escape the girl’s gaze. Maggot Maggie’s advice hadn’t been a comfort either.
“There’s three types of people,” she said, gesturing with a fermenting turkey leg, “Them that’s got and them that ain’t.”
“What about the third person?”
“There’s a third person in this room? I’ll kill him! Show yourself, Invisible Man!” Her every gesticulation threw maggots about the box, but protein was hard to come by anyway.
Gabby Reynolds was more helpful, as his relentless stalking of high society dames rendered him the de facto town gossip.
“Blonde? About five foot ten? Covered in fecal matter? Sounds like Sarah Schultz.” The Schultzes were of the more important Atlantic City families, as their patriarch Euronymous had made his name around the turn of the century by driving out all the Irish. “Very fertile, decent birthing hips, and a fine pair of full, supple Jew titties.” Gabby had often remarked that the three most important qualities in a woman were the uterus, hips, and breasts, in descending order. “She’s the prize at the fire walk tomorrow.” The Atlantic City Annual Firewalk had been a tradition established by the Schultzes, to celebrate when they used a ring of fire to protect the city from an Irish horde. The prize every year was a date with their most eligible daughter, except for that five year period when the most eligible daughter hadn’t hit puberty so they just gave every one free fish sandwiches. There were very few complaints, mostly from pedophiles.
He hadn’t been able to get her out of his head. “Sarah Schultz,” he repeated to himself aloud through the night, with the occasional “Sarah Calhoun” thown in just to hear how it sounded. In the morning, he swore the pile of cum and piss in his underwear spelled out her name. Or Sauron, depending from what angle you looked at it. The sun set, and the smell of coals burning permeated even under the boardwalk. As Calluses approached the dunes, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“You’re at a crossroads, boy,” Six Fingers Mulroney said, “You’re gonna pitch yourself at that girl, and you’ll either come back here a broken bastard not fit to drop a load into a pile of rags, or you’ll be with her, and you’ll be with them. Either way, boy, may the hobo’s luck be with you.” Calhoun nodded and crested the dune.
“People of Atlantic City society!” he yelled, “I come before you to challenge these burning coals for the hand of your fair maiden!”
“Hey, it’s that guy who threw poop at us yesterday,” a random beachgoer said, “Let’s get him!” The clink of medieval weaponry caused Calhoun to wince remembering the time a shopkeeper had thrown a morningstar at his gonads.
“Wait!” Sarah Schultz yelled, “He’s invoked the right of trial by fire!” The socialites grumbled and sheathed their steel. Calhoun stumbled down the face of the dune and approached the coals. He set one foot forward, then another. Then he stopped. As the seconds passed, gasps and awws emitted from the crowd.
“Sarah Schultz,” he said, “Before I saw you, I didn’t know what love was. I was a sad, homeless virgin, whose only companion was a pile of rags. But when I saw you, I saw our future. A future where we have sex and do drugs and drink fortified wine. Sarah, come with me to my hobo jungle.”
Sarah looked at Calluses’s bare feet roasting on the coals, then at her family, an assemblage of high status weirdos who were beginning to show the first signs of the genetic consequences of marrying your cousins.
“You know what? You people suck. I’m going to go have sex and do drugs and drink fortified wine in a hobo jungle.” She grabbed Calhoun’s hand and they dashed under the boardwalk, as Mulroney looked on with a smile. Then he slowly began masturbating.
This week Jacob, Ivan and Will are joined by Ron Richards (Image Comics, iFanboy) to discuss the past, present and future of Image in preparation for Image Expo on July 2nd (July 2, YCBA San Francisco, CA http://www.imagecomics.com/expo/).
We had a real great time talking comic books and Image with Ron, everybody who enjoys comic books and industry talk should get on this, like NOW.
Marvel’s “Secret Wars” or DC’s “Crisis on Infinity Earths” and WHY?
Crisis. Secret Wars is a good storyline, no doubt. It was all of Marvel’s heavy hitters crammed together, their greatest foes allied against them. Everyone gets a chance to shine and produced a number of iconic moments. Hulk holding up a mountain, the face of Doom, Spider-Man straight embarrassing the X-Men, and the Beyonder just being weird, it was exciting! There were a few long term consequences. Spider-Man brought back the symbiote from there, Colossus basically cheated on Kitty Pryde with some tribal lady, Titania went on to become a solid c-list supervillainess. And Secret Wars 2 would give us the Beyonder’s jheri curl, one of the all-time great comic hairstyles and basically the only highlight of that series. You can easily explain the history of most characters without having to explain that a cosmic entity abducted a bunch of heroes and villains and decided to make everybody fight each other because the sales would be amazing and they needed to release a tie-in for the toy line of the same name.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is the greatest work of metafictional universe building in all of publishing.
By the 80s, the overall continuity of the DC Universe was a tangle. A cosmology had been developed to explain within the structure of the publishing line all the different plot conflicts and timeline dilations. When DC bought smaller publishers, their characters would be integrated by being given their own universes which could then cross over into the main line. Captain Marvel (Shazam!) and the Fawcett characters, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, the entire Charlton line (which later became the building blocks of Watchmen), would spring into being. On Earth 2, the Justice Society’s roots in World War 2 were preserved by letting them age more or less in real time.
This is where the big division in how Marvel and DC treat continuity appears. Oftentimes, Marvel will just say something akin to “oh yeah that story didn’t happen” or come up with loose justifications (Magneto and Xorn). That’s why I’m so against the entire One More Day thing, it gives a publishing remit of “retroactively break up Spider-Man’s marriage without divorcing or killing them” and brings in a cosmic entity to do it that doesn’t fit tonally with the character. And it is almost impossible to say “Spider-Man sold his marriage to Mephisto to save Aunt May after she was shot by a sniper” without being laughed at (yes I know technically Mary Jane sold the marriage but it’s all dumb ALL OF IT’S DUMB). That scene where Peter couldn’t make it to his wedding because a fat man fell on him was just UGH. And it wasn’t even The Blob or Kingpin! He was felled by a common fat man laying atop him! I just can’t.
DC however, will come up with a reason why they are changing history and continuity within the books themselves. Marv Wolfman and Len Wein were part of the first generation of comic book fans who would become comic book writers, and they knew their canon. They used the 50th anniversary of DC to reboot the line, and instead of just jettisoning characters that people had known their whole lives without explanation, they made it all fit within the framework of the DCU.
And, so, with George Perez on board contributing one of the most skilled hands in all comics, they broke down the entire line so they could rebuild it. The Anti-Monitor wanted to destroy existence, so all of existence fought back. Every major character in the history of the line contributed in some way. And the consequences were enormous. Barry Allen sacrificed his life and the Flash legacy successfully passed on to Wally West. Swamp Thing’s tie-in is a character-defining arc. They promised on the tagline. Worlds lived, worlds died. Entire character’s histories were wiped clean and simplified. The DC Universe stood as a whole for the first time.
It couldn’t last. DC continuity grew against itself again, and future events would try to repeat explaining away changes. If Superman had never been Superboy, then he couldn’t have inspired the Legion of Superheroes and on and on and on. There was Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis and they varied in quality, but they all added additional wrinkles in trying to explain characters’ histories. And then there’s the regressive storytelling of the current DC universe, with Barry Allen’s death being negated and Hal Jordan returning because they were the Flash and Green Lantern that Geoff Johns grew up with. And then there’d the entire Flashpoint relaunch, which is the dumbest damn thing that’s ever happened in comics and of which most people involved should be ashamed. This past relaunch has effectively buried DC in a last layer of continuity that throws up yet another barrier for new readers. DC has shot itself in the foot with its own universe.
I’ve tried so hard and so many times to find a way to explain this joke in a way that conveys a full appreciation for its majesty. Herein, I will attempt to illuminate the entirety of it.
It was Sketchfest 2013, and that night’s party was at the Mission Bowling Club. When it comes to social gatherings made primarily of comedians, I can honestly tell you that I have only ever been to one where it did not get massively, uncomfortably weird at some point. And really, that instance was more a comedy spontaneous get together than anything. My strategy was to hang out with people I already know and enjoy rather than trying to branch out to any new people, as new people tend to rather quickly become tiresome. Oh, where are YOU from? Oh, what do YOU do? And you can’t even make grossly out of character jokes because they don’t know your character! Making significant connections with another human being is a real drag.
So I would talk with friends and go out for smokes. Natasha accompanied me on one of these jaunts, and when we returned we saw a carafe of water on a shelf. Natasha asked “Is this free water?” and picked up the jug. Seeing it was empty and without even a bit of hesitation, she answered herself with “Nah, this is water free.” I was so struck by the beauty of her words, if I could’ve given a person an All-Time Joke of the Millennium medal it would’ve gone to her. As I recall, I began clapping and looking around to see if anybody else had heard it. No, I was not drunk at the time. Yes, she absolutely was.
Since then, I have tried to explain this joke to other people. It has never had the full impact that it did on me. I attribute this to the You Had to Be There Syndrome. But still, it was a singular moment in time with one of the people I enjoy the most, and that is an effect that others cannot share.
If I had 13 dollars and no inhibitions how would I spend it?
I can’t answer your question for you because you are anonymous and I have no insights into your personality. How about you give that thirteen dollars to a prostitute so she’ll play Scrabble with you? That’s what I’d do.
Why does free will have to be so gosh durned traumatic?
Because a cruel, unfeeling god deposits us on this stinking cloud of trash and smegma for his own amusement, laughing as we struggle through a world which bears down on the human soul. Also, it builds character.
Is there a QUANTIFIABLE benefit to decreasing my general hairiness and/or obesity? I don't mean any of that health bullshit, neither.
Don’t decrease your hairiness, some odd women find it irresistible and quite frankly it is a sign that you are a higher level of human animal. The obesity, that you should work on because having a floppy lard dick is bad for your self-esteem.
Episode 28: “HIGHER” FNFS LIVE with Ivan Hernandez, George Chen, and Sean Keane
Professors Dave Child and Julia Prescott spent 4/20 up in San Francisco at Lost Weekend Video to talk about films that relate to the theme: “HIGHER.” Dave and Julia discussed the Monkees’ “HEAD” and The Red Elvis’s “Six-String Samurai” and their guests each brought something different to the table. Ivan Hernandez (of the podcast: BOARS, GORE, and SWORDS) made us experience “Altered States” while George Chen (The Cynic Cave) descended “Jacob’s Ladder” and Sean Keane (The Business) finished it off with “TipToes.” Let us take you higher, its Friday Night Film School! LIVE!
Check out the inaugural Escapist Comics podcast, where comedians Jacob Rubin and Ivan Hernandez discuss hot comic news and the world of graphic novels every two weeks! This week, we discuss the new Marvel big event Age of Ultron, Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers, the upcoming Mega Man/ Sonic the Hedgehog crossover, and which artists best carry on the legacy of Jack Kirby. We also start the book club feature: we’ll be reading Avengers Assemble Vol. 2, by Kurt Busiek, for discussion in the next episode. Enjoy!
A woman walks into a gynecologist’s office. A nurse says “The doctor will be with you shortly” and then leaves. The patient gets into the stirrups. The doctor walks into the office. He is Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer. He parts the lips of the woman’s vagina apart with a speculum and makes the booming sound from Inception. End of sketch.
Drew Spears and me have come together in a Watch the Throne-style collaboration of solely premises we are too lazy to flesh out into actual comedy.